University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Chavez v. County of Santa Clara JC-CA-0123
Docket / Court 5:15-cv-05277 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Attorney Organization Prison Law Office
Case Summary
On November 18, 2015, pretrial detainees at the Santa Clara County Jail filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Northern California. The plaintiffs sued Santa Clara County under U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. They ... read more >
On November 18, 2015, pretrial detainees at the Santa Clara County Jail filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Northern California. The plaintiffs sued Santa Clara County under U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. They alleged violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Represented by the Prison Law Office and several private attorneys, they asked the court for a declaration that Santa Clara County violated their constitutional rights and to enjoin Santa Clara County from holding people in the inhumane conditions of solitary confinement for prolonged periods, to provide individuals with meaningful notice and opportunities to challenge decisions to place them in solitary confinement, to provide constitutionally adequate healthcare, and to cease the unnecessary and excessive use of force. The plaintiffs claimed that they had been imprisoned in solitary confinement from November 2014 to November 2015 without knowing why they had been placed there or given the opportunities to appeal the decision, and that while in solitary confinement, had been denied adequate medical care. The plaintiffs also sought class certification.

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on January 20, 2016.

The case was referred to Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins for settlement discussions on April 28, 2016. The parties jointly moved for class certification, and Magistrate Judge Cousins granted the motion on September 20, certifying a class of "All people who are now, or in the future will be, incarcerated in the Santa Clara County jails." The court also certified a subclass of "All people who are now, or in the future will be, incarcerated in the Santa Clara County jails and who have a psychiatric and/or intellectual disability, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq., and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794."

On November 6, 2017, the case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Robert M Illman.

As of March 24, 2018, settlement discussions are ongoing.

Kat Brausch - 01/30/2016
Virginia Weeks - 03/24/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Administrative segregation
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary segregation
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) County of Santa Clara
Plaintiff Description Pretrial detainees at Santa Clara County Jail alleging inhumane treatment by prolonged solitary confinement.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Prison Law Office
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:15-cv-05277-NJV (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0123-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/20/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
JC-CA-0123-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/18/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 9]
JC-CA-0123-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/20/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Certifying Action as Class Action [ECF# 34] (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0123-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/20/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cousins, Nathanael M. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0123-9000
Illman, Robert M. Court not on record [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0123-9000
Vadas, Nandor J. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0123-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Knapp, Kelly Jean (California)
JC-CA-0123-0001 | JC-CA-0123-0002 | JC-CA-0123-9000
Litton, Addison Mills (California)
JC-CA-0123-0002 | JC-CA-0123-9000
Lomio, Rita Katherine (District of Columbia)
JC-CA-0123-9000
Mendelson, Margot Knight (California)
JC-CA-0123-9000
Norman, Sara Linda (California)
JC-CA-0123-9000
Santamaria, Jessica Valenzuela (California)
JC-CA-0123-0001 | JC-CA-0123-0002 | JC-CA-0123-9000
Specter, Donald H. (California)
JC-CA-0123-0001 | JC-CA-0123-0002 | JC-CA-0123-9000
Walker, Jeffrey W. (California)
JC-CA-0123-0001 | JC-CA-0123-0002 | JC-CA-0123-9000
Wasley, Kendall Dawson (California)
JC-CA-0123-0001 | JC-CA-0123-0002 | JC-CA-0123-9000
Zambarda, Mark Anthony (California)
JC-CA-0123-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Harris, Aryn (California)
JC-CA-0123-9000
Lew, Ling Yang (California)
JC-CA-0123-9000
Other Lawyers Ells, Lisa Adrienne (California)
JC-CA-0123-9000

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